Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving + Quiet Bins


The top row contains the books from our home collection and the bottom row is, sadly, the best I could find at the library two weeks before Thanksgiving! I was pleasantly surprised with them though. Our favorite was The Little Engine That Could Saves the Thanksgiving Day Parade, since the original story is one of our favorites!

Quiet Bins

Both bins were themed this time, which I like to do for holidays. And we kept these filled for two weeks. The holidays are a pretty busy time, so we didn't sit down for quiet bins each night. But when we did, the kids really enjoyed them.

Here are their contents:

A Thanksgiving I-Spy in a page protector. The free printable came from Life Over C's. I must say Little M&M chose this as his first activity every time. He loved this one!

A pattern block turkey. Free printable from here!

A feather and a turkey baster. The object of this game is to blow the feather from one side of the room to the other, using just the baster. It was a real hit with both kids, and provided quite a challenge!

Thanksgiving coloring pages and crayons.

Cranberry transfer using tongs. Underneath each cup is a number, and that is how many cranberries they needed to place in each.

Turkey Feather Math. This was a free printable too! Obviously this was placed in the bins for Honey Pot, and she really loved this activity! But Little M&M was happy to give it a try too, and is learning how to count on his fingers.

Coloring pencils with Thanksgiving drawing prompts from CreKid, where I've been finding so many wonderful prompts!

Pumpkin pie scented playdough, dough tools and accessories. I also provided them with one of our laminated playdough mats. On one side it says "Put some Thanksgiving food onto your plate!"

On the other side of the mat it says "Give the turkey some feathers."

Beans Sensory Bin + Literacy Review. This was the absolute favorite activity for both kids! I bought three types of beans from the Dollar Tree, and mixed them together in what might be my favorite sensory bin yet. What fun it was to sift through this! For Honey Pot, I hid letters (from a board game called Upwords) inside that would spell out her sight words from Kindergarten. 

For Little M&M, I hid letters inside that he has learned so far in preschool. They did this activity again and again, sometimes for the entire half hour allotted for quiet bins!

On Thanksgiving day, I brought out the I-Spy game for my kids and other young members of the family that came to join us. In addition, I provided this turkey maze and a dry erase marker. It was a huge hit for all ages!

We also completed our annual Thankful tree, but I forgot to photograph it!

If you want to look back at our previous Thanksgiving themes, click on the links below!

Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving 2013
Thanksgiving 2014

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pies + Quiet Bins


We borrowed these books from the library this week. Little M&M's absolute favorite was Apple Pie ABC, and he even requested reading it in the middle of quiet bin activities. Honey Pot and I enjoyed Ugly Pie too!

Quiet Bins

We usually just play with our quiet bins on weekday evenings. The kids enjoyed this week's bins so much though, that they asked to pull them out again mid-morning on Saturday! Here is our pie-themed bin:

The activities inside:

Pie fraction puzzles. This was such a great introduction to fractions! I got the idea from Pieces by Polly.

Magnetic Sensory Pie. I provided them with containers of "ingredients" and an aluminum pie pan so they could prepare a magnetic pie. They could explore with the magnets as they pleased, and enjoyed "stirring" the pie from underneath!

 Using tongs to add "whipped cream" to the pumpkin pie. This printable comes from Homeschool Creations.

Playdoh Pies. I provided our homemade pumpkin pie scented playdoh, mini pie pans and some playdoh tools. Later we even added other things from our playdoh collection like cutters and beads, so they could really enhance the appearance of their pies!

This is a worksheet that I created. The idea is for them to follow the "recipe" for each type of pie. By placing the page in a plastic sheet, I also had a handy place to attach my pipe cleaner. They both really loved this! Honey Pot would even continue the patterns beyond what the recipes called for!

(And here is one for you!)

Here is our non-themed bin for the week:

And the activities inside:

Our salt tray, with all of the letters Little M&M has learned in preschool as well as all of the sight words Honey Pot has covered in Kindergarten.

Assorted stickers and scrap paper:

Clothespins to attach to the rim of a cup:

Melissa and Doug Water Wow alphabet. We LOVE Water Wows for in the car, restaurants, hotel rooms, etc. We have a few sets and I especially love this one for alphabet review!

A stack of cups, for building towers and castles. This was another huge hit, and I was amazed at some of the creations they came up with.

Baking a Pie

At the end of the week we baked a pie together as a family. We chose a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction called Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Pie. My little helpers participated in each stage of the baking:

And even helped one another out:

Here is the final product:

And it received rave reviews from each member of the family. What a delicious way to eat pumpkin pie! We'll be preparing it again for our Thanksgiving guests. Mmm.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Quiet Bins: The Full Collection of Themes

How It Started
After seeing tons of ideas for "Busy Boxes" and "Quiet Bins" on Pinterest, I decided to implement our own version for during the school year. Now that both children are in school part or full time, we have less time for the themed activities we have always enjoyed. So each week, I fill two bins with quiet activities--one is themed and one is not.

How It Works
Each night, in the half hour before bed, it is time for Quiet Bins! I sit down with Little M&M and bin #1 while my husband sits down with Honey Pot and bin #2. Each day, the kids switch bins. Every other day, they switch parents. This gives us quality time with both of them throughout the week. It has been super successful so far, and the kids really look forward to doing Quiet Bins.

It has been over two months since we began. Take a look at the themes we've covered so far, by clicking on the theme title. And, if you're looking for other quiet activity ideas, each link will lead you also to our non-themed bin for that week. I will update this page with more themes as we complete them.






Autumn Leaves





The Beach/Ocean

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Autumn Leaves + Quiet Bins


We borrowed these books from the library this week. Why Do Leaves Change Color? was a little bit advanced for them, Little M&M in particular, but the others were adorable. We read them over and over this week. Highly, highly recommend.

Quiet Bins

Here is our leaf-themed bin for the week:

Inside it were the following activities:
- leaf coloring pages with markers
- a leaf q-tip painting template with giant pushpins (great fine motor practice) to be completed on a rug of course
- a leaf stamp and ink pad with paper
- our leaf felt board, scaled down to fit on a tray
- a fall tree dot marker page with fall colored dot markers
- a roll and cover game I created, with two dice and acrylic leaves

Here's one for you to grab:

And here is our non-themed bin for the week:

It contained:
- cutting practice worksheets and scissors
- our Tell Tale card game, with a template I made, for storytelling
- the geoboard
- a puzzle
- a Cars magnetic toy

Leaf Walk + Identifying Leaves

I printed a great leaf identification chart from iMom today. While Honey Pot was at school, Little M&M and I took advantage of an unseasonably warm morning and took a leaf walk. He carried a sand bucket and we tried to find as many different kinds of leaves as we could on our street.

When the wind blew we loved to stop and listen to the leaves falling, and watch them drift to the ground.

When we got back to our house, we pulled out the chart and tried to identify the types of leaves we found. While some of them were of similar shape, Little M&M was able to determine that they came from different trees, because of their textures.

It was super fun!

Later in the week, on a much cooler day, we went back out with Honey Pot to find a new batch of leaves to identify.

We had a lot of success, and the kids had fun trying to match them up to the chart.

Light Box

We put together our light box again this week. Remember the fun we had when we first made one for Little M&M's L is for Light theme? This time I set it up with our acrylic leaves, clear plastic cups and some small sticks that I had them gather during our leaf walk.

First Little M&M sorted the leaves by color:

then he started pouring them back and forth between all the cups:

and finally he set up some sticks to make trees:

Then Honey Pot started to play. She made a tree with lots of branches:

And a HUGE pile of leaves at the bottom, lol:

Then, without my prompting, she gathered them all up into plastic cups, and arranged them from emptiest to fullest:

Sweeping Skills

I scattered the leaves onto the floor, and offered for the kids to help sweep them up. They are great helpers, so they have a lot of experience doing this already. But they still jumped at the chance.

Decorating Leaf Cookies

We hosted a football party this week! It was an all day affair, and there were six kids present who don't watch football. So I decided to bake some cookies, using leaf cookie cutters, and have the kids decorate them as a way to break up their day of free play. I followed a recipe from Bake at 350 for brown sugar and spice cookies and they were SO delicious!! I set the table, using a vinyl tablecloth for easy cleanup. At each space I set out a plate, a plastic knife, homemade cookie icing, leaf sprinkles in a small dish and mini M&Ms in a small dish. Also on each half of the table were solid colored sprinkles, in fall colors, for the kids to share. The kids varied in age from 3-6 and they all did a super job!

Here are the finished cookies ready to eat! Mmm!

Leaf Pile Play

And of course, we had a giant pile of leaves to entertain the kiddos as well.

We love fall!

And please take a look at our previous autumn themes: